Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sabine's Notebook - Nick Bantock

Sabine's Notebook
Nick Bantock
Chronicle Books

The blurb (Publisher's Weekly):
Devotees of Bantock's enigmatic bestseller, Griffin & Sabine , won't be disappointed by this equally intriguing and perplexing--and equally gorgeous--sequel. London artist Griffin Moss and islander Sabine Strohem, who have never met face-to-face or spoken via phone, exchange hand-illustrated, handwritten letters and postcards--ostensibly reproduced here, tucked into envelopes and removable for reading. As this installment opens, Griffin, frightened by his psychic connection to his otherworldly correspondent, flees England on a night sea journey from Italy to Japan and Australia. He leaves a letter for Sabine, urging her to stay in his abandoned studio. Winter turns to summer and Griffin's courage overcomes his trepidation; still, Sabine warns him to "be . . . cautious; the eye of the storm is a deceptive place." Griffin's initial distress and progressively optimistic outlook shine through his paintings. Sabine's cryptic visual messages seem tinged with mysticism and, possibly, malevolence. Perhaps because it has been established in the previous book, the couple's supernatural bond is less of a focus here, and at times, his art and hers are a touch too similar. Nevertheless, Bantock's distinctive premise continues to puzzle and delight, the wonderful stationery has an authentic look and, not surprisingly, the finale leaves room for another chapter. Author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The sequel to Griffin And Sabine, this is another extravaganza of art postcards and removable letters. As I said of the last book, it reminds me a lot of Barbara Hodgson's The Tattooed Map. Again, there's no resolution, and the story ends with yet another mystery. Is Sabine real? Who is she (and for that matter, who's Griffin?)?

Short in story, but long in art. That's the best way I can think of to sum up this book. It's easy to read in one sitting, but you'll spend time simply examining the art, and trying to see what relationship it has to the story, not to mention what the art says about it's creators.

Sabine's Notebook is definitely a book I enjoyed reading, although, I admit, given it's length, there's not much I can say about it without giving things away.

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